Erik ten Hag was delighted that Manchester United striker Wout Weghorst was able to show his worth by scoring his first goal for the club in the Victory in the semi-final first leg of the Carabao Cup at Nottingham Forest.
Ten Hag is already happy with his fellow Dutchman’s contribution since arriving on loan from Burnley earlier this month.
However, despite all the unseen work Weghorst has done to create chances for others, he knows the 30-year-old will be happiest scoring in Wednesday’s 3-0 win,
Weghorst showed real attacking instinct to pounce on loose ball after Wayne Hennessey saved Antony’s shot just before half-time.
“It’s important for him and for his confidence that he scored this goal,” said Ten Hag.
“He did a great job at Crystal Palace and Arsenal with his pressing, his targets and his movement.
“He was part of Bruno [Fernandes’] goal to Palace because he makes the right move towards the near post. He was part of [Marcus) Rashford’s] goal to Arsenal because he coached the centre-half away.
“But the strikers are there to score goals and when they don’t score they are not happy.”
Based on this, Rashford must be delirious.
The England man took his tally after the World Cup to 10 in as many games with a sensational opener.
Rashford took possession of his own half before sprinting into the Forest box and beating Hennessey with a ferocious left-footed effort that drew comparisons to Ryan Giggs’ memorable effort in the half-replay. 1999 FA Cup final.
Ten Hag agrees that there are few more in-form players in the country at the moment.
“I’m happy with Marcus’ performance and his development,” Ten Hag said.
“Since the start of the season he has been growing. What we have to aim for with him, and he is responsible for that, is to continue this process.
“If he’s in that mindset, with that mindset, he’s unstoppable.”
Cooper wants to learn from defeat
Forest boss Steve Cooper was particularly unhappy with Fernandes’ third in the final minute.
Although he accepted that a two-goal deficit would have been difficult to overturn at Old Trafford in the second leg next week, coming back from three goals is virtually impossible.
Nevertheless, he still thinks there are positives to be taken from a “disappointing and frustrating” night.
“The path to success is to deal with disappointments,” he said.
“Disappointments are not something you encourage or want, but they can be good for you and we need to approach them that way.
“We don’t want to be soft or fluffy about it, but we also don’t want to be narrow-minded and think we can’t learn from this.
“We are building something here. We are not at the end. I am always happy that the fans had the chance to walk onto the pitch and think their team is in the semi-finals.”